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Nov 12, 2012 06:57 AM

BPA-free substitute for canned tomato sauce in chili recipe?

I have a chili recipe that is a family favorite which calls for canned tomato sauce. I would like to replace the canned tomato sauce with something BPA-free but am unsure how to replicate the flavor and texture exactly. If I start with Pomi strained tomatoes, what proportions of sugar and spices would I add to make it taste like tomato sauce? Why, oh why, isn't tomato sauce sold in a jar? (Jarred pasta sauces seem more heavily seasoned.)

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  1. Most canned tomato sauces I see are unseasoned, excpet for a few like Red Gold brand (and other sauces in thier line up) , which is lightly seasoned.

    I would find a good asceptic pack of plain tomato puree and proceed as normal.

    I don't know what brand you used that did come canned and seasoned, but most are not (including the major brands like Hunts and Contadina. Neither are seasoned). If your's was, then you may need to add some basic seasonings like salt, pepper , maybe some granulated garlic and onion powder. Most that are spiced don't go wild due to them trying to still maintain pure tomato flavor.

    There is a thread here on CH that lists BPA-free canned goods. Some tomato sauces found at Trader joe's and WF are BPA-free.
    I;d look into that as well.

    And basic tomato sauce seldom comes in jars to keeps costs down. Canning in metal is still far cheaper than glass with less breakage and normally far longer shelf life.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jjjrfoodie

      Thanks for the reply, but I've been working on finding a solution to this issue for a long, long time and there are *no* BPA free canned tomato sauces, even at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and all canned tomato sauces do include spices: for example, from the Hunt's website--

      "Hunt's Tomato Sauce
      Made from all-natural, vine-ripened tomatoes simmered with salt, spices, and natural flavors for seasoning"

      What I would love to know is the recipe for replicating that taste, beginning with a BPA free product like Pomi strained tomatoes or any of the jarred tomato pastes available.

      1. re: lewis5

        Personally, I would not fret, and just sub plain canned tomatoes. I'm quite sure that if you add some salt, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder, you'll get quite close to replicating canned tomato sauce. Or use a jarred spaghetti sauce and blend with plain tomato juice to reduce the level of seasoning.

    2. My local "house brand " tomato sauce lists:

      Tomato concentrate (water, tomato paste), salt, onion powder, garlic powder, citric acid, nataural flavors, died bell pepper.

      I can almost assume the "natural flavors" line means MSG or some type of enhancer.

      For all the decades of using tomato sauce to make home made pasta sauce, I've had to fool around with some spices to get what I need when switching from brand to brand of tomato sauce. Canned or not.. it just comes with the territory.

      Cooking is science. When you change the forumla/ingredients, you have to adjust to get the same end result. :-)

      1. Thanks so much for the suggestions. I'm still hoping there's someone out there who has already figured this (a recipe for tomato sauce) out to save me the trial-and-error... Is it best to start with tomato puree or tomato paste (both readily available BPA-free)? How much of each spice? I've been making this chili for years and it has to taste just the same--no one in my family wants a "new" chili but I want to start making it BPA-free.

        1 Reply
        1. re: lewis5

          If this is an age-old recipe, you actually have an advantage. I would take some Pomi tomatoes, whizz them in a food processor and then start that chili. As soon as it is safe to do so, start tasting. Then add different spices [keeping track of what you add] until it tastes the way it should. I have never used tomato sauce, so can't really be helpful.

          - or -

          Buy one last can of the tomato sauce. Whizz those Pomi's in the food processor. Add the listed ingredients to the Pomi. Taste the tomato sauce; taste the Pomi mixture. And keep going until you like your version even more than that last can of tomato sauce. Then right down what you did! [That is the part I always forget to do.]

        2. Pomi does make a tomato sauce -- the trick is finding it in your area.
          If there are any other natural food stores in your area, you might find more options there. I find my local shop is much more stringent than WF in their selection criteria.

          Short of that, I would take the advice above, and puree some chopped tomatoes. I would imagine your primary flavor is coming from chili spices, not tomato sauce, so you would loose little flavor.

          2 Replies
            1. re: smtucker

              This is terrific news! I just ordered a case. Thank you so much, maxie and smtucker!

          1. But yet again lewis5, we are back to the question I posed above.

            I can taste any of 5 to 10 tomato sauces at my local grocery (both canned and tetra pack) and all will taste different.

            All use different spice mixtures (if any) as well as varying amounts of sugar and tomato paste in the mix.

            Thus, as i stated above, we do not know what your "heirloom family chili recipe " baseline is.

            I don't know what tomato sauce you use, thus helping you "suss" out the recipe of what you need is useless to me. At least until i get more info.

            All canned tomato sauce is not all the same tomato sauce. Brands vary in ingredients and spice mixture. All across the board.

            CH cannot help you until you help us. :-)

            1 Reply
            1. re: jjjrfoodie

              Thanks so much. I have used a wide variety of canned tomato sauces over the years--Contadina, store brands, etc--and haven't noticed a difference in the taste. I'm hoping the Pomi tomato sauce will be similar enough to result in chili that tastes the same to my family. Thank you!